Boo Berry Count Chocula Franken Berry
Oct 05, 2012 • By

The history of our monsters

Remember the excitement of autumn back in your childhood years?

Fall brought pumpkins, falling leaves, and a fun holiday when you could morph into anything you desired. With a mental image of the character selected, you devised a brilliant Halloween costume idea. There were parties, caramel apples, and chewy peanut butter kisses, and breakfast.

Monster breakfasts.

As a super cool, intelligent kid, you asked your parents for Count Chocula, Franken Berry and Boo Berry. They would help jump start your brain to eagerly learn in the classroom.

And, you had to try all three flavors, right? How else would you know your favorite?

The nostalgia brought on by the autumn season sparked my curiosity, and I did some checking into the history of our monster cereals.

Count Chocula and Franken Berry were both introduced in March 1971. These two flavors were the only chocolate and strawberry flavored cereals on the market. Pre-sweetened blends of oats and corn, they provided eight essential vitamins plus iron.

The first blueberry flavored cereal, Boo Berry, was launched in December 1972.

According to Terry Kirihara, director of research and development for Big G, the monster cereals were initially the same cereal shape but with their different colors and flavors (along with color-matched marshmallow bits).

All shapes were small cylinders shaped like a circle with a cross in the middle (the monster cereals are now character-shaped).

They were created following the success of Lucky Charms, which also had marshmallow bits and were a consumer favorite.

Early commercials, like this one, helped the monster cereals gain traction in the marketplace. And, who could forget the commercial with the “Boo Hooter” prize?

I also found a record titled “Monster Adventures in Outer Space.”

You can hear part of it in this clip we found on YouTube.

Other monster cereal line extensions were eventually launched (such as Fruit Brute and Fruity Yummy Mummy), but were discontinued.

Count Chocula, Franken Berry and Boo Berry were available year round for about 35 years. Today, the cereals make an appearance just in time for Halloween.

What are your memories of our monster cereals?

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  • quisp69

    Growing up in the 70′s and 80′s, Franken Berry and Boo Berry were my all-time favorite cereals! My brother and I could take down a box in one sitting! I even remember the commercials on TV. Unfortunately, at some point the formula of the cereal was changed to a consistency similar to styrofoam. For those that remember, the cereal consistency was very much like the cereal in Lucky Charms. Too bad because I’d buy cases of the stuff if it were like I remembered. I still like the characters though.

    • Amy

      I agree the formula has changed, the oat and corn pieces were better when they where just a chocolate version of the Lucky Charms pieces.

    • Phillip Sucalouski

      I saw the retro boxes at Target and decided to get a Count Chocula and Boo Berry. They taste nothing like they used to. CC doesn’t even taste chocolaty anymore. Total bummer!

      • Emily Marko

        I thought the same thing. I just stocked up on a few boxes of cc and it doesn’t taste as good as it used to. Used to be more chocolately. Also hate that it only comes around once a year.

    • Bill Goodwin

      YES, thank you!! I always knew they were different back in the day!! They were much better back then, totally styrofoam now!! I tried to look up the formula change online, no articles. Is GM trying to cover the change up??

    • Newshound24

      Hear, hear! The mostly-corn pieces are more porous, less robust, and tear the inside of your mouth to shreds. It’s like chewing on pieces of firebrick. The mostly-oat pieces were MUCH better, and let more of the flavoring come through. As it is now, I’m so distracted by the rough texture, and the shredding of the roof of my mouth, that I can barely taste the cereal itself.

      G. Mills – if our pleas move you at all – we BEG you to switch back to oats for the monster cereals! You’re still using oats with Cheerios. Still using them with Lucky Charms. So they’re obviously still economical. There’s no reason to have changed the formula. We’re just asking you to change it BACK.

  • Deuce

    Was Al Franken really the model for Franken Berry monster?

  • user219

    this cereal is crap. loaded with chemicals that are bad for humans and are poisoning our kids and altering DNA and produce changes in behavior and if you don’t believe me than do your homework on the listed ingredients

    • Myndo

      That’s easy to see…just look what it did to the kids on the front of the box!

    • Emily Marko

      Then don’t buy it. That’s your choice completely. I’ve been eating this cereal since I was a kid and I am perfectly normal. Keep your opinions to yourself.

    • ErikRP

      User219 speaks the truth. After a year or two eating cereal, my youngest son turned into a leprechaun, my daughter turned into a talking rabbit, and my oldest son has just recently joined the Navy to go in search of crunchberries.

      I called my senator to see about having these foods more tightly regulated but he just kept shouting something about being “coo-coo for cocoa puffs” and hung up on me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chuck.mckendry Chuck McKendry

    I wish these cereals were available all year round. Also would like to see Fruit Brute or Fruity Yummy Mummy “reresurrected” (pun intended) for Halloween sometime in the future.

    • LuigiOshawott

      They are this year at target!!

  • A091883

    Make them a blend of oat and corn again, they are 100% corn now and not nearly as good. When/why did General Mills change the recipe?

    • Randy

      I have to agree on this. The original recipe was much better. They changed so long ago I don;t even remember how good it used to be but I do remember being disappointed the first time I bought a box and noticed the difference in taste, texture, color, everything… Wish they can bring back that original recipe so we can enjoy them the way they were originally made.

    • Newshound24

      Agreed. The mostly-oat texture they used until the end of the 80s was vastly superior, and should be brought back at once. G. Mills still uses oats for Cheerios, Lucky Charms and a number of other cereals. So oats are obviously still viable, economically. There’s no reason NOT to go back to oats.

      Why did they do it? Usually, it’s money. Maybe corn was cheaper. We’d have to get G. Mills to own up to this if that’s the case….

  • Oliver

    Would be great to see them back all year. They were and still are the only cereal I care for.

  • mnboon

    i love the boo berry is my fav. i like all of them and then some.

  • tmom

    boo-berry has always been my favorite!!! but i love them all, as do my kids :-)

    • http://www.facebook.com/christopher.galea.526 Christopher Galea

      Where do you buy them?

      • http://blog.generalmills.com Kevin Hunt

        Thanks for reading the post, Christopher. The Monster cereals are seasonal, look for them again in September!

        Kevin Hunt
        General Mills

        • Glenn Schaich

          Kevin,

          Are you listenimg to the legion of fans out here who are wanting the old recipe back? This 100% corn is making the cereal too light and airy. Bring back the goodness of old!!! Please! You’ll have fans buying boxes of them–not just one.
          Thank you.

          • ErikRP

            Nope… apparently they’ll respond to the 3 compliments and not the dozens of people who want the original formula. Some response from the company would be nice.

  • Tom Anderson

    I’ve been a fan of the Monster Cereals ever since their release in 1972+. My mom & dad bought Cheerios & Wheaties so the it was a rare occasion that I could talk them into a box for me. By the time I was old enough to earn money mowing lawns etc, I indulged and had “Frank” “Boo” and “The Count” over on many occasions. But here’s a painful reality check.. I just turned 48 and my daughter bought all three boxes for me as part of a birthday surprise. I was anticipating a nice trip down memory lane, what I got instead was more like a train wreck. All of the cereals were horrible. The first spoonful I could tell this wasn’t the same cereal. I checked the ingredients as I knew I wasn’t tasting Oats, like Luck Charms, and sure enough General Mills opted to go for changing the recipe to Corn, or most likely GMO Corn because I’m sure it’s cheaper than Oats right? COuld that be the reason to ruin a Classic great kids cereal… C’mon General Mills, pull your heads out of the sand and do the original recipe and marshmallows or don’t even release them, because the current cereal isn’t what kids in the 70′s and 80′s loved. This new stuff is terrible. And, keep the original animated features of Frank, Boo and Count, the new CG characters also look weak.

    • Tim

      You are 100% correct, they need to go back to oat. This new version is horrible.

  • Michael Earle

    Being as I eat food year round and not just at Halloween it would be nice to see Monsters cereals in stores more often.

  • Kacey

    Wish these cereals were available year round?

  • Mike Hemphill

    I would really like to see an attempt to make Limited Edition boxes of Fruit Brute (Fruit flavored with lime marshmallows) and Cinna Mummy (Cinnamon flavored with Vanilla marshmallows)…

  • holly

    I wish i could find Count Chocula, i dont even see it around halloween :( i miss it so much!

    • Phillip Sucalouski

      Don’t bother if you ate it as a kid in the 1970′s. It is nothing like it used to be.

  • The Homicidal Homemaker

    I have made a ‘shooter’ recipe inspired by Frankenberry: http://www.thehomicidalhomemaker.com/the-frankenberry-shooter

    I also have Boo Berry, Count Chocula, and a YummyMummy/Fruit Brute inspired drinks coming soon, on my blog. These cereals were a huge part of my childhood, and still are to this day! I would love to start some sort of fan-site/community for the beloved Monster Cereals, as I am a web/graphic designer. Until then, I will continue to develop recipes inspired by the best cereals ever!

    - Kaci, TheHomicidalHomemaker.com

    • http://blog.generalmills.com Kevin Hunt

      So glad you’re a big fan of our Monster Cereals, Kaci! And, that they are inspiring your recipes! Thanks for reading our blog!

      Kevin Hunt
      General Mills

      • Tim

        Will General Mills ever go back to the oat based recipe for the Monster Cereal? They were so much better when they consisted of oat like Luck Charms. Also, they need to do a retro box from the 70′s for Haloween 2013.

        • jeremy daniels

          Good thing they did!

        • ErikRP

          Too bad General Mills didn’t feel the need or interest to respond to the dozens of people who want a change back to the original recipe.

  • Owen Chenault

    I am glad to see Fruity Yummy Mummy back this Halloween return them year round as they were before.

  • Owen Chenault

    And as always Booberry is THE AWESOME ONE!!!!!!!

  • Monstermaniac

    I have been eating this cereal ever since I grew teeth. My twin brother and I would greedily dig into a bowl of monster goodness with glee. I collected the box art, the mail in offers, the premium toy prizes, the mail away tee shirts, the bobble heads, etc. then the unthinkable happened, they switched to peanut flour (I am allergic.) I bought the boxes anyway and poured the cereal into the trash while crying huge sobs. An angry letter or two was sent by me and I then began to dislike the box art which has become too stylish and frequently is used several years in a row (come on really? I will draw them for you if you can’t find someone!) Thankfully they switched ingredients again and I could actually eat the stuff, but instead of a nostalgic sugary mouthful I got a bland tasting soggy milk soaker. Gone was the original shape, gone was the sugary coating, gone was the satisfying oat crunch. I like the marshmallows but the rest of the cereal is a poor imitation of the originals. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for bringing Fruit Brute and Yummy Mummy back this year, but I still implore you to bring back the original recipes too. I have been a loyal fan of monster cereals for 36 years, thanks for the great memories.

  • Randy

    Unless they bring back the original recipe I keep my limit to 1 box.
    Bring back the original recipe and I may just buy the entire shelf…

  • Heather Whipple

    I loved the count Chocula Cereal it was my absolute favorite. I still have a taste for it.
    but can only find it during Halloween time. I wish it was on store shelves everyday
    Year around.

  • Chelle

    I used to love this cereal and was so glad it was coming back! I bought 2 boxes of Count Chocula yesterday, figuring they would be gone in 1 day. It was absolutely disgusting! I couldn’t even finish my bowl. My husband thought the same thing, didn’t finish his either. Why on earth would you change it when people liked it the way it was? I thought this was the best cereal ever made. I’m SO disappointed. I’m taking it back to the store for a refund. I’ve read the previous comments, so obviously I’m not alone. Bring back the original recipe.

  • Jimmy Pribble

    Thank you, General Mills for recognizing and responding to the fans of your Monster Cereals. A few years ago, I could barely find any information on these cereals at all and now you have this very nice page, which is one year old today! I also want to tell you how thrilled I was to see the new retro artwork boxes! Such a gift! But, I must also say that I share the sentiments of many on here and feel that the cereal itself is just a shadow of its former self. If these cereals were continuing to compete daily in the highly-competitive cereal market, I could understand GM reformulating the recipe and doing whatever else it had to do to survive. But, this is a limited, seasonal release with a built-in fan base of middle-aged, nostalgic people like me. If it is just cost, I for one, would be happy to spend an extra $.50 or so per box to have the original recipe back.

    I am strictly a Franken Berry man and have blogged about FB twice, once just today (I talk about the new releases and such) and another back in 2009, when I first discovered that Franken Berry hadn’t disappeared, like I thought. There is some criticism, but there is also a lot of love. Thank you for keeping these cereals alive. Happy Halloween, everyone!

    http://www.jimmypribble.com/blog/2013/10/franken-berry-cereal-2013/

    The much longer, in-depth article:

    http://www.jimmypribble.com/blog/2009/10/food-that-time-forgot-franken-berry-cereal/

    • ErikRP

      I’d pay two or three times the price if they’d make it according to the old formula. I wonder which drove the change – profit or government regulations.

  • SOAPFAN

    I LOVE COUNT CHOCULA n quite p’od that my all time fav cereal is NO LONGER avail in Canada. Wishing it would come back n STAY!

  • Sandra Motes

    The Monster cereals are my favorite and I stock up every year. I wish they were produced all year long.

  • Vash

    I agree I have eaten this every year recently since I could get it. I grew up with it as a kid as well. This new formula is horrible. Who would approve this. Sorry I loved this stuff. Very sad.

  • ALLOW GUEST COMMENTS!!!

    I dig the “original” boxes lately. But why aren’t they the original shapes? They didn’t used to be ghost, bats, etc. They were like little sugary wagon wheels with barrel shaped marshmallows.

  • Elaina Kite

    Bring them back all year round!

  • Britney Deville

    All growing up I could get these cereals year round. I only found out this year that they are now only seasonal. So disappointing. BRING THEM BACK YEAR ROUND. I hard such a hard time even finding one box of count chocula this season, even if it doesn’t taste the same anymore, it be great to have it year round again. :(

    • ErikRP

      If you loved them as a kid you’ll be heart-broken as an adult. They’re nothing like they used to be. I have vague memories of pushing the colored cylindrical-shaped marshmallow bits through the center of the oat circles. That, and the milk turning color to match the cereal. Now it’s just the name that’s the same. Even the graphic leaves me cold I’m sorry to say.

      Just leaves me missing the good old days a little bit more!

  • Matt Krieger

    We have very fond memories of these characters, our group illustrated the first images (early 90′s) and the (retro) second images on this page. We have been working with General Mills and partners of General Mills for many of the years these ghoulish characters have been on the shelves. You can buy all the new boxes at our other favorite client “Target”. Cheers to General Mills!

    Matt
    Spectrum Studio, MN

  • candace meyer

    The only cereal i eat is count chocula. I LOVE IT. I did not realise it until today that it is seasonal when I asked at the market where it was. If I wanted to buy a case from the company ( general mills ) is that even possable.?

  • Bill Baith

    I was at Wal-Mart tonight and saw boxes of Frankenberry I haven’t tried this cereal since the 80′s. I bought 6 boxes and opened one as soon as I got home. I poured a bowel for me and my son, eagerly awaiting the moment of sharing something I remember so fondly from my childhood. The first thing I noticed was the lack of smell when I opened the bag. Second was the different shape of the cereal. The third and most disappointing realization was the taste. This cereal is completely different from what I had as a kid. What a bummer…

  • Andrew Stromberg

    My wife found Franken Berry and Boo Berry where she works, she bought 3 boxes of Franken Berry and 1 Box of Boo Berry. I couldn’t believe how it tasted. No real flavor, it didn’t even turn the milk a pinkish or bluish color. I am very disappointed.

  • Megan Seekings

    I don’t know what grain y’all are using now, but the cereals just don’t taste the same. They were much better with the recipe similar to Lucky Charms (oats, etc) Please bring it back.

  • wonderbrat

    If the people who make this cereal now could have a bowl of the current version, and a bowl of the awesome way they made it in the ’70s, they would change the recipe back in a heartbeat. Part of me wonders if they changed the formula because of the gov’t cracking down on sugar content and such, but Lucky Charms is still an oat-based cereal. They could do it if they wanted to. And putting the current version in retro boxes is just adding to the cruelty – it LOOKS like the Monster cereals we loved, but we all know that it isn’t.
    Sigh.

    • ErikRP

      Disappointing that GM doesn’t seem to want to comment on why they made the change, let alone that they’re willing to go back to the old recipe.

      • http://blog.generalmills.com Kevin Hunt

        Hi Erik,

        Rest assured, our blog team is reading all the comments to this post as they come in, and we’re forwarding them to Big G. I don’t have any info to pass along regarding the recipe, but all the comments are sent to the cereal team. Thanks for visiting our blog.

        Kevin Hunt
        General Mills

  • Newshound24

    I share the woes of many posters here over GMills changing the cereal pieces from mostly oats to mostly corn. I don’t know that the ‘flavor’ of the pieces has changed, but the change in TEXTURE and the grain composition makes them taste very different.

    I ate them all the time as a kid and a teenager, right up to college towards the late 80s. (That was back when the cereal pieces were primarily oats, like Lucky Charms). The oat texture was heartier, more solid, and had a more robust crunch. It let more of the fruit flavoring come through. It was also easier on the roof of the mouth. They also sold them year-round, not just at halloween.

    Now with the corn formula, their texture is more spongy, porous, less solid, less robust. They remain crispy, but that seems to be largely because they have little substance, and it’s only a sugar flavored glaze that keeps the milk from soaking into the pieces and making them soggy. The corn pieces are lighter, but extremely coarse and rough. It’s like chewing on pieces of firebrick. It rips the roof of your mouth to shreds, and leaves the inside of your mouth raw and scraped to the point where it stings when you try to eat other foods afterwards (or even citrus drinks – which are usually PART of a ‘balanced breakfast’).

    I’m not sure why they made the change. Usually, it’s money. It may be that corn was cheaper, and they figured people wouldn’t notice the difference because grain is grain. But given that they’re still using primarily oats for Cheerios, and Lucky Charms, and a number of other cereals, it makes me wonder. If oats are still economical, and are better liked than the corn pieces (at least for the Monster Cereals), then what sense does it make to have changed the formula to the inferior corn pieces?

    I’d still buy and eat them regularly if they used oats, and sold them year-round. As it is, I still try buying them around Halloween, in the forlorn hope that they will have changed BACK to oats. But every year, I wind up disappointed, with inferior corn pieces, and an inside of the mouth that’s been torn raw from a texture that’s more like pig iron.

    Please, G. Mills – PLEASE – change the monster cereals BACK to oats!!!

  • https://www.facebook.com/groups/KiddieShowParadise/ SaturdayMorningCereal

    This is a pretty misinformed article to be written by General Mills. It sounds like the Author HATES the Monsters.